Microsoft’s Bing team took the wraps off of a new location-sharing application for Windows Phone on Thursday called “We’re in.” The application is similar to foursquare and Latitude in some respects, and yet still very different. The idea is simple: you can create an invitation that will allow your friends to share their location for a specified amount of time. Say, for example, you want to share your location and see where four of your friends are, for one hour, while you all head towards a local restaurant. You can create a quick event with “We’re in” and then send it to those friends. Once they accept, their pictures and locations will appear on Bing Maps. If you hit traffic or the train is late, you and your friends can update your status as you make your way to the restaurant. Unlike Latitude, which some people avoid for fear of location privacy issues, you can always leave the party. Better yet, when the allotted time is up, your location is automatically turned off. The application is available in the Zune Marketplace now and Microsoft says it plans on delivering it to other platforms soon, too. More →
Microsoft has struck a deal to provide English search results in Baidu, China’s most popular search engine. According to The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft anticipates that the Bing-labeled English search results will help expand its Bing brand in China. Baidu also hopes that the partnership will help its efforts to expand its search engine to the global market. Chinese users typically use Google for English search results, however, the Chinese government has blocked that search engine — and other Google services, such as the newly launched Google+ — from time to time. Baidu will begin implementing Bing results later this year, although neither company provided an exact date as to when that functionality would be added.
Several new features set to be introduced in Microsoft’s upcoming “Mango” update for Windows Phone were revealed this past weekend. We already knew that Mango is set to be a major update to the Windows Phone platform — perhaps the most anticipated new feature is improved multitasking support — but Microsoft had been keeping several upcoming additions under wraps. Newly revealed features include Bing Audio, which will identify songs by listening to music, a la Shazam; Bing Vision, which will provide barcode scanning along with a host of camera-assisted search functions; the addition of turn-by-turn navigation to Bing Maps; speech recognition support in the messaging app; and a new native podcast player. None of these new features have been confirmed by Microsoft at this point but considering the proven track record of the source, it looks like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 update is going to be even more exciting than we thought. More →
During the BlackBerry World Keynote in Orlando this morning, Research In Motion announced that it is working with foursquare to include support for the social-network in an upcoming version of BlackBerry Messenger. Users will be able to share their location information as their BBM status, but RIM execs didn’t go into much detail on how check-ins will work or just how feature rich the implementation will be. The native foursquare client, for example, allows users to find nearby deals, compete with friends for check-in points, and more. RIM did not say when the client would make its debut, although we suspect it will be around the launch of its BlackBerry 7 powered Bold 9900, which will occur later this summer. More →
Just moments ago on stage at BlackBerry World 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (no, the other one is also CMO, dummy) announced a strategic mobile partnership with Microsoft (translation: we’re super scared of Andy Rubin). Starting around the holiday timeframe, Microsoft’s Bing maps and search will be the preferred search and mapping solutions for BlackBerry products. We’re talking about a system-level integration, “far beyond a search box,” RIM said. Check out our live coverage of RIM’s BlackBerry World 2011 keynote for more!
According to data collected by Experian Hitwise, Bing’s share of the U.S. search market surpassed 30% last month. Microsoft’s Bing search engine is less than two years old, but a series of key deals and increasingly effective mobile integration pushed the service’s share of the U.S. search market up nearly 6% between February and March to 30.01%. Yahoo!’s share of the U.S. market grew as well, from 14.99% in February to 15.69% in March, while Google’s share declined 3% to 64.42% for the month. Google still owns the lion’s share of the U.S. search market of course, but the Internet giant’s search engine is less effective than Bing and Yahoo! according to Experian Hitwise. The firm notes that over 80% of searches performed with Bing and Yahoo! result in a visit to a website while only 65.91% of Google searches result in a visit. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →
Analytics company ComScore has released its October search engine market share numbers and… instead of making you fire up your search-site of choice and finding the information yourself, we thought we would just put it right there for you. October’s search numbers are as follows: Google 66.3%, up from 66.1% in September; Bing 11.5%, up from 11.2% in September; Yahoo 16.5%, down from 16.7% the month prior; Ask.com 3.6% down 0.1% from the previous month; and AOL 2.1%, down from 2.3%. We are curious to see how/if the recent release of Windows Phone will help Bing’s search numbers. We’ll find out next month.
According to research firm Nielsen, Microsoft’s Bing search engine has overtaken Yahoo! as the second most-used search engine in the United States. There is, however, a little catch. Nielsen’s numbers, which are for August of 2010, only count what they are calling “intentional searchs” and do not include contextual or slideshows searches. The company pegs Yahoo!’s U.S. search share at 13.1% and Bing’s at 13.9%; Google is still dominating with a cool 65%. To further cloud the waters, comScore’s data — from July of 2010 — shows that Yahoo!’s explicit search numbers are six points higher than Bing’s. For the time being, all we know for sure is that Google has almost two-thirds of the U.S. search market and either Bing or Yahoo! is in a distant second. More →
If you bought a Samsung Fascinate from Verizon Wireless, you might have been feeling a certain way at the fact that the default search engine on the device is Bing and not Google. In addition to Bing being the default, Google Search isn’t even a selectable option. It is well known that Verizon and Microsoft have entered into a multi-device agreement to promote Bing, appearing as the exclusive option on Verizon’s BlackBerry handsets for instance. It wasn’t known if users would ever be able to change search engine options, but a Verizon Wireless spokesperson has chimed in, and broke it down for everyone. Once the Fascinate is updated to Android 2.2, users will be able to download the Google Search application to get their Google searching fix directly from the device. Even with the new application though, customers will not be able to change the default search setting from Bing to Google, and the search button will always trigger a Bing search. Oh well. More →
We have a couple quick Microsoft tidbits here. Today, Microsoft announced that the official Bing mobile application for Android is available to all Verizon customers. If you have a Verizon Android device, and don’t like the ease-of-use and integration that is provided with Google, you can run on over to the Android Market and download Bing. You’ll also be thrilled to know that Bing for Android will be coming pre-installed on future Verizon Android devices. Joy.
Also, as a follow-up to a previous post… ActiveSync for Hotmail is now live. If you have a device that supports the ActiveSync protocol, and would like push email, calendars, and contacts, hit the read link to see how to configure the new hotness on your device. More →
comScore has released their search engine numbers for July of 2010. The search market share numbers were gathered using a new methodology which only accounted for explicit searches (typing a search query in a text box) as opposed to including automated searches in the results (via hovered text for example). Analysts had predicted that removing automated searches would put a serious dent in Google’s search engine market share, and although the company’s metics did fall, a precipitous decline was not present. Google ended July with a 65.8% piece of the search pie (down from 66.2% in June), Yahoo! increased from 16.7% in June to 17.1% in July, and Bing stayed constant month-over-month at 11.0%. AOL shed a tenth of a percentage point from June to end up with a 2.3% share. All this occurred with a 15% jump in the number of users running search queries from a year prior and an almost 11% increase from June. Anyone recently abandon Google for another search provider? Any pros and cons you’d like to share? More →
We knew that Bing was the default search engine for Windows Phone 7 handsets, but earlier information about the mobile OS suggested that carriers and OEM’s could change the search engine as part of the allowed customizations. Apparently that information, which was based upon leaked documents, is now incorrect. In a recent interview with Pocket-Lint, Greg Sullivan, senior product manager for Microsoft, confirmed that Bing is the one and the only search engine for Windows Phone 7 handsets. Sullivan stated that “the search engine has been heavily integrated into the OS, so it would be hard to offer an alternative.” While the default search engine for the device can not be changed, OEMs, carriers, and individuals can presumably add a second search engine via a downloadable application or possibly within the Hub interface. Anyone turned off by this restriction or is it a non-issue? More →